Getzenberg: First female MLB owner Britton blazed a trail

From Alaine Getzenberg at on June 19, 2017:

A family walked onto the field at Busch Stadium before the Cardinals game on June 10. Char, Candy, Crystal and Chad Barone hadn’t been to a game together for 30 years, but they met on the diamond in honor of an extraordinary woman.

They are descendants of Helene Britton, who transcended gender boundaries to become the first woman to own a professional sports team when she assumed that role for the Cardinals in 1911.

Britton was a revolutionary before her time. She overcame pressuring by fellow owners to sell the team, and she maintained ownership until 1917. Britton remained unwavering in her commitment to the club, too, despite going through a divorce with an abusive husband in a time when divorce was largely taboo for women.

Over the past 10 years, more light has been shed on the impact Britton had in Cardinals history. Interested in learning more about her great-grandmother, Crystal Barone reached out to Joan Thomas, who had written an article on Britton for the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

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Originally published: June 22, 2017. Last Updated: June 22, 2017.